tv [untitled] June 13, 2012 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT
resolved in order to get the glocks open. >> all right. thank you for that answer. double the afghan military will be fully able to take overcome 2014? >> i was just there in afghanistan on the first trip and had a chance to meet with minister wardack. every time i go there i get the opportunity to see the afghan army and the improvements in terms of their operations there's no question. right now there are 346,000. they're going go to 352,000 and they're way ahead in terms of achieving the target that they want to achieve. they are doing an incredible job in terms of marijuana thaining
security in the transitional areas that we provided. i think they are improving. our goal over the next two years is to continue to train, continue to assist them in their capabilities, and i have to tell you that i am confident that we are going to be able to complete all of the transition in the areas that we have as part of general allen's plan that we can do this because we have the afghan army in place, but also because we continue to have isef in place, as well to provide the support necessary. so i think the combination of an afghan army that's able to do the job plus the enduring presence that we need to have there as well in order to assure that the training and assistance continues. i think that combination does make clear that they're going to be able to govern and secure themselves at that point. >> thank you very much. i know my time is up.
>> thank you very much. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. just two things i would like to raise in the time that i have. one is that, mr. secretary, as cia director, you had operational control over the bin laden raid. as you know, three of us on this committee also serve on this senate intelligence committee which senator feinstein chairs. we've been alarmed with the recent spate of leaks that have occurred and we're working together in a bipartisan way to try to address this and one of the areas of concern is over the question of this accommodation of the filmmakers with the bin laden raid. it's been one of the uniform participants and that has been
made public and we're wondering, the question is what other details have been shared about that. this comes on the heels of devastating leaks that have compromised sensitive operations and put people's lives at risk and devastating negative consequences going forward et cetera, et cetera. you're well aware of that. my question here is simply the role of the department of defense relative to the hollywood situation and other situations where your forces are involved and it is fair to say and the chairman would agree that we're looking at every possible avenue to try to minimize, mitigate, eliminate these types of leaks. and so working with you and your people in your department is one of the areas that we'll need to work with in the comprehensive way to get a handle on this.
i'm really not asking you for, you know, details regarding all this. we all love to go see these hollywood movies, they're exciting and so forth, but to the extent that information is shared relative to classified operations and personnel to make the movie a little more exciting and realistic and so forth and so on contributes to the problems that we have and so i think we want to make sure that each department, whether it's agency and intelligence community and whether it's the department of defense is aware of the aware of the fact that would prevent this from happening in the future. whether you want to comment on that or not, i'll leave that to you. >> thank you, senator. let me say as former director of the cia, i deplore unauthorized
disclosure. and the fully investigated and it has to be clear that this is intolerable if we'll try to protection the defense of this country, we've got to be able to protect those that are involved in clandestine operations. having said that, i also want to make clear that no unauthorized disclosures were provided to movie producers or anybody else. what we do have is we do have an office at the pentagon that almost every day deals with people that want to do something about either a movie or a book or an article or something related to our defense and we want to make sure that the information that they do use is accurate and we do assist them with regard of the accuracy of that information, but i can
assure you i've asked that question in this instance. nobody released any information that was unauthorized. >> i hope you would join us in a thorough review of procedures. just let me make sure that our policies are straight on this. >> thank you. >> you and i are posted during the same timeframe and i do agree with senator hutch son with this rebalancing and global posture and with the financial and fiscal issues and we have to be very careful with taxpayers' money and i think she raised legitimate questions in terms of infrastructure and money going that. by the same token, i would like to get your take and get your take that we're rebalancing too far that we have terrorism and arc of threats in pakistan and afghanistan and coming across the land and his role in syria
and the arab spring and so forth and everything from the network and al shabaab and syria. there are all kinds of threats out there. the question is some of these threats require rapid response and germany has always been a place where we have facilities to house and train those people that can be that rapid response to emergency situations and as well as normal operations have we gone too far or are we in the cusp of leading too much, too fast and then what you add the nato component with the need to utilize and keep that organization dynamic, vibrant and effective as a partner, what is your take on all that? well, as you know, senator, former ambassador, i've had 12 years of service in nato, and i
tend to see the world in many cases through our north atlantic alliance, and i think it's legitimate that it is the track record of this country that when we enter into conflict that the first people we enter into conflict are the members of the north atlantic alliance. we shouldn't discount to build partners and build their capacity and we do that in places like graph and there and elsewhere. i think that building their capability makes it certain that we won't always have to be in the lead. even if sometimes there's political reluctance that has to be overcome to do that. i mentioned the surveillance system that is a smart defense initiative. i mentioned the european phase, mi missel, and shrunk the headquarters from 12 to about six and i will just tell you they tend to be strong on our
relationship with nato and not withstanding the senator's concern about the investment. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you both for your service. i think we have a vote so i'll try to cover as much ground as possible. mr. secretary, if we do not change the sequestration dilemma, if we don't do something before it before the election, when can we expect layoff notices to hit? >> obviously industries make that decision, but under the law they've got to do it 60 days and anywhere from 60 to 90 days before it takes effect. >> you have to lay off civilian employees as a result of sequestration. if, in fact, it ultimately takes effect we'll take the same thing. if you do the same thing, 60 and
90 days before, and i just want to say that it seems the bipartisanship that we've had in recent memory is to destroy the -- so the sooner you can tell us about the number of jobs to be lost and how it will affect during defense base, i think the better for the congress as a whole. you're telling us about track here. you're telling us you have a budget problem. when was the last time track premiums were adjusted for the retired force? >> '93. '93. members of this committee. i know we love our retired military members and i hope to be one one day, but isn't it unsustainable for you if we do not bring this program into some kind of a sustainable footprint? you're strong compete with the retiree health cara, genst
modernization against benefits to the day's force and the ability to win wars, is that correct? >> as i say, we're paying $50 billion now in the health cara, reasona and if we don't control those costs it will eat up other areas. >> you're telling the congress it's unsustainable. >> exactly. >> you're having to make choices between the retired health care cost in fighting this war and future wars and i think to be fair with the retired force and to maintain the military budget. you're talking about reshaping and retirement benefits in the future and not the way people exist today. >> correct. because if you retire at 38 and you get half pay for the rest of your life, maybe that's something that we need to revisit. i want to be generous, but i want it to be sustainable. that's the message to the congress, right? >> that's correct. >> your message about sequestration is i'm doing my best to handle 450 to 500
billion, if you want to double that you will destroy the best military we've ever had. is that simply put? >> that's right. >> gdp on the military. what's been the historical average of gdp's spin on the military? >> 4% or 5%. >> yes, 5.5% over the last five years. >> september 11, 2001 it was len%. in world war ii it was 5.4, the korean war was 8.25 to 18%. vietnam 7.65 to 10.86%. i would argue to my friends that on both sides, you're right. we're not going get out of debt by lowering the military spending alone. i'm all in for reforming the way we spend money. cost, plus contracts seem to be a bad idea. do you agree?
>> that's correct. the more it costs the longer it costs for the contract. you're being looking at doing a fixed price contract for future accusations where everyone's got skin in the game. i applaud you tremendously for doing that. aid to pakistan. do you consider the foreign opes budget for the military account and the state department's role in the world? >> yes. >> would you recommend us to stop aid to pakistan right now? >> i -- i'd be very careful about just shutting it down. i would expect them to do. >> what about onegypt. >> no -- >> could you and mr. dempsey write me a letter about what you recommend about the pakistani government and the egyptian
military and the egyptian government. the last thing i want to talk about briefly that just went over everybody's head that there's a pearl harbor in the making here. you're talking about shutting down financial systems and releasing chemicals from chemical plants and releasing water from dams, shutting down power systems that could have the very survival of the nation. what's the likelihood in the next five years that one of these major events will occur? >> well, all i can tell you is technologically that it is there. >> is there a growing will to use that capability by our enemies? >> the more this technology develops and the more the will to potentially use it. >> would you say there say high probability?
i think there's a high risk, thank you both for your service. thank you both for your service. >> secretary panetta, and the budget needs to relate to the full defense strategy. and the attention to the asia and the pacific. and we think going into the future that that role actually accelerates. there has been a proposal by the air force to move the f-16 aggressor squadron and we've raised many questions and unfortunately it seems that there are more questions that are being raised after we've received some of the information and we have the activation task force review that was assigned to look at the feasibility of
this move and the concern we have is in addition to additional questions being raised, we've got a situation where the other forces i think are impacted. you mentioned that this needs -- this budget needs to be a balance between all forces. we're looking at the impact to the guard which has the 168th refueling wing and how it will be impacted if ileson is put to reduce hours and the training that we have up north that could be compromised. we have very serious housing issues that need to be assessed. we are in a situation now where we are trying aggressively to get some very concrete answers from the air force on this. we have determined that this proposal is going to cost us this next year, 5.65 million dollars and if it does not fall
in line with the president's budget, the very direct question they have to you, secretary panetta and general dempsey is whether or not you will encourage the air force to abandon this plan for ileson air force base in 2014. take this proposal back to the drawing board and give it the thorough, very comprehensive vetting that it must have to ensure that, in fact, we are operating with the focus, the vision toward asia pacific and this truly does reflect the new defense strategy. >> general dempsey respond to this as well. >> let me make clear that, you know, the air force was looking for, obviously ways to save money because of the responsibility to respond to the budget control act. there are f-15s located and
f-15s located at elmendorf and they felt it was better to unify those and i just want you to know that i've shared this with your colleague as well that we have no intention of closing it down. it's a very important base for us and it's important in terms of refuelling and it's important in terms of the role that we want to be able to play with regards to the pacific and so nothing that is being recommended here in any way is intended to impact on ileson itself as a future base for the air force. >> i know you're in contact with the air force. i won't commit to going back and talking them out of their plan. i will commit to you to go back to make sure i understand their plan better and then i'll engage you on it personally and senator
begich. >> i do recognize that and i understand that the proposed savings that the air force is proposing is demolishing buildings, and the replacement value of these is $150 million so it puts it in a situation where it would appear to be a back door break and that is the concern and consideration. so again, if i can ask you to do a very comprehensive review and work with us, general dempsey, i will look forward to your conversation. mr. chairman, i thank you, and i will conclude my comments with just a direct appeal. the focus as we look at infrastructure is all very clean, but as it comes down with the human assets i remain troubled with the high level of suicide that i'm seeing with the military and the veteran population and most are staggered to learn that we are seeing more deaths due to suicide than we are in theater in afghanistan and how we deal
with this reflects on who we are as a nation and our commitment to those who service, but i know you have a commitment to that, and i feel compelled to raising it here. >> i thank you for pointing that out. i'm very concerned by the high arrest suicides. in talking with the service cheefshgs they share that concern. as a matter of fact, highlighted the fact that they were seeing higher rate in suicide than they'd seen in the past and what i've asked all of them to do with the undersecretaries that are responsible for this is to immediately look at that situation and determine what's behind it and what's causing it to make sure it doesn't happen. >> thank you very much, senator murray. >> okay. thank you very much, mr. chairman. i appreciate that. mr. secretary, i want to continue the thought process of senator murkowski.
i, too, am very alarmed by the suicide rate of our service members and our veterans. new analysis is showing us that every day in 2012 one of our service members committed suicide and you just commented on outpacing combat desk and we know a veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes. every 80 minutes. i think we can agree on two things, our service members and their families have risen to the challenge and they've done everything that their countries asked them throughout the wars in iraq and afghanistan and we're eternally grateful. secondly, the pentagon and va are losing the battle on mental and behavioral health with the service members and loved ones and as we just talked about is resulting on such extreme things as suicide and secretary panetta are service members and veterans and they can't get treatment to
added resource to a correct diagnosis. this has been a problem for soldiers in my home state of washington. over 100 soldiers and counting have had their correct ptsd diagnosis restored after being told they were exaggerating their symptoms, lying and accused of shirking their duties. so understandably, a lot of our service members trust in confidence in the disability evaluation system has been seriously shaken in the wake of these events. i have continually raised concerns about the consistency and accuracy of behavioral health and diagnosis and have offered my recommendations on how to improve the system and as you also know the army has taken some critically important steps forward and beginning to address these concerns. the secretary has announced a sweeping, comprehensive army wide review of behavioral
diagnosis back to 2001 to correct thorriors of the past and to make sure the service members get the care that they need and that they deserve, but i wanted to ask you today, but this is not just an army disability system. this is a joint department of defense and va program covers all of the services. so i wanted to ask you why the department has not taken the lead in evaluating in taking the lead to the entire system. >> senator, i've asked the other service cheaps to implement the other service chiefs to go back in 2001 and review all kisses throughout the entire system. >> that's correct. >> they are all following the army's lead and we are told the evaluation and the progress of that. who is heading that up? >> the undersecretary for personnel and and health care.
that's the individual. >> i would like to be kept inform as all of our members of congress would. i think this needs to be transparent and clear. we need to make sure that people are accessing the system and giving back if they need it and the only way to get that is to be clear, open and honest with everyone. i didn't know we were looking at all of the other services and i would like more information and to be informed on that about how that's taking place and what the timetable is and how that's going to occur. >> i appreciate your leadership on this, senator. i'm not satisfied either. i think the misdiagnosis that took place and what's happening in this area between -- we're doing everything we can to try to build a better system between the pentagon, the department of defense and va.
but there are still huge gaps in terms of the differences in terms of how they approach these cases and how they diagnose the cases and that's a whole area we have to do much better. >> you can't imagine what it's like to talk to a soldier who told he had ptsd and then was told he was a liar or ma lingerer and was taken out of it and he went out in the civilian world not being treated. that's a horrendous offense. you know, i joined the veterans affairs committee and i held a hearing on the joint disability evaluation system, and i have to tell you i am really troubled by what with i'm hearing. enrollme menmen menment is cont climb and the goals are unacceptably low and the time it takes to provide services to the service member has risen each year since we began this.
in response to these problems we heard from the department of defense and veterans affairs together about how five years after, five years after the walter reed scandal, they are just now beginning to map out business processes to find room to improvement. that's just unaccepta believe. the public, all of this really believed this was being taken head-on and they were dealing with it and five years out. unacceptable numbers we're seeing so i wanted to ask you what you are doing at your level to deal with this, five years into this program and we're still hearing statements from army leaders about how the disability system is fundamentally flawed, adverse aryan, discountied and tell me what i'm going to do. >> let me do this. general shinseki and i have been meeting on a regular basis to do what we can to implement improvements and frankly, we're not satisfied either by the progress being made here.
part of it is bureaucratic. part of it is systems and part of it is the complicated -- >> you can't imagine what it sounds like to hear that. >> pardon me? >> it's bureaucratic. if you're in the system -- >> i see it every day. i'm in charge of a very big bureaucracy and the fact is that sometimes just the bureaucratic nature of a large department prevents it from being agile enough to prevent what needs to be done and people are willing to operate out of the box and do what needs to be done in terms to improve these systems. what i would offer is what do represent shinseki and i need to do to shake the system -- >> i really appreciate that commitment. i know you have not been there the entire five years, but i will tell you this, we've been told for five years that they
are sitting down on a regular basis addressing this, and i'm talking to soldiers that are stuck in the disability evaluation system. there are bureaucratic delays. the people that are supposed to be helping them they're training them because they've been in the system longer than the trainers that are supposed to work with them. their families are facing horrendous challenges as they try to figure out what the future brings months on end. >> you want to hear who the people at the bottom who are in it are saying. i totally appreciate what you're hearing for a long time. we need recommendations and we need to move forward and we need to be a top priority out of the pentagon andas we transition out of the pentagon, this will be more simple. add to that, a complexities that behavioral health places.
and you have ptsd and what's going back and reviewing and are we putting personnel to deal with this? this is complex, it's hard. it's problematic and it needs every single effort from top to bottom. >> listen, i share all of your frustrations, and my job is that we don't come here with more excuses and that we come here with action. >> i truly appreciate that comment. i want to work with you. all my efforts are at your disposal. we do a fantastic job of training on you are men and women to go into the service. we still today have not gotten this right in making sure that we transition back home. we have families and soldiers and airmen throughout the service who are really stuck in a process they shouldn't be stuck in. we've got to get this right and we've got it get it right now and wee